Enhanced User Experience: Responsive design encourages simplicity and provides a consistent device-neutral experience for your audience.
Scalability and Versatility: Responsive websites are suitable for virtually all devices going forward without having to account for a different make and model of device.
Easy to Maintain: Because responsive sites require only one build, you will only need to manage content once.
SEO Impact: Responsive websites are awarded higher rankings from Google and streamlined on-page SEO strategies. And since 61 percent of people only look at the first page of search results when conducting a search on their smartphones, it's imperative that your site be optimized for mobile.
Each of the above approaches has its pros and cons. Let's discuss some of the downsides of each:
• Mobile-Friendly: This approach is the easiest to implement, as you are simply assuring that your desktop-targeted website doesn't break when viewed on a mobile device. This, however, requires the consumer to zoom in to areas on the site in order to read much of the content. While you will keep costs down, you are mostly ignoring your mobile consumers. Increasing the size of buttons and menus will make it easier to navigate on a touch-screen mobile device, but can lead to issues with layout and require you to redesign your layout regardless of having chosen this approach.
The mobile-friendly approach requires the mobile consumer download the same content as the desktop user when viewing a page. If you have large, high-quality imagery, video or other "heavy" content, this may cause long wait times for mobile users.
• Mobile-Optimized: Essentially, you are designing two separate websites, one for your desktop consumer and one for your mobile consumer, with this approach. This means updates to content need to be implemented twice. You may also need multiple versions of image assets in order to keep the size of mobile content down to what's reasonable over a mobile network. This also leads to some additional work. You should expect longer lead times and more hours to deliver updates.
Mobile is going to continue to grow as will its use as a way for brands to interact with their customers. However, the mobile device is far more personal than your email inbox. Fortunately, there are ways to implement a mobile marketing strategy that delivers relevant information that your customers want to receive. By understanding how your customers want to engage with you will help you build loyalty and in turn, help you see faster returns on your marketing investment.
Greg is a 12-year mobile industry veteran and vice president of mobile solutions at Hipcricket, Inc., where he's responsible for the vision and strategy to deliver consumer experiences that increase mobile engagement and lifetime value across mobile messaging and advertising, mobile websites, social media and branded apps